Saturday, January 26, 2008

Torture update

Look at the bright side in the latest disappointment from the Bush Justice Department. Attorney General Michael Mukasey's decision Friday not to appoint a special prosecutor in the CIA interrogation tapes destruction disaster comes as bad news, sure, for anyone interested in finding out the truth about the government's latest missteps. The investigation will be left to career government attorneys with solid reputations but whose integrity will be suspect unless they find wrongdoing. But there is a bright side. Remember the bizarre independent counsel investigation of former President Bill Clinton? That was months and months of weirdness and absurdity followed by impeachment! At least we won't have to endure another gross misuse of government authority and taxpayers' money. Of course, Mukasey's briefing to the press Friday was not without its own strangeness. Mukasey, who was nominated after President Bush's friend, Alberto Gonzales, resigned under a cloud of controversy, again refused to say whether the use of waterboarding, the aggressive interrogation technique said to be depicted on the destroyed tapes, was legal under U.S. law or amounted to torture. Mukasey's refusal to answer that question nearly derailed his nomination, even though intelligence chief Mike McConnell had no doubt that it was torture in an interview with the New Yorker magazine earlier this month. Mukasey is scheduled to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and members have pledged to quiz him on the subject.

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